Late Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning, the most popular night spots in St. Petersburg were slow, but one topic was making the rounds: Donald Trump’s policy reversal decision on transgender students and what it means in a broader context.
Michael Jones, a well-known entertainer and drag whose stage name is “Meagan Towers,” was in street clothes, sipping on a drink at Pepperz Cabaret in Gulfport, the heart of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the greater St. Petersburg area.
“I think what they’re doing is wrong,” Jones, who works mostly in Naples, told FloridaPolitics.com. “I know too, too many trans people that this could affect if (Trump) takes this further.”
Hours earlier – in a letter to issued in Washington, D.C., on letterhead by the departments of Justice and Education, and signed by officials with the civil rights divisions of each – Trump’s legal experts asserted that the rights of transgender students to use separate “sex-segregated” were given without proper vetting.
Sandra Battle, of the U.S. Department of Education, and T.E. Wheeler II, of the U.S. Department of Justice, justified the government’s position because no formal public debate had ever been carried out and, in addition, no compatibility review with Title IX had been done either.
“The interpretation has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms,” said the joint statement issued Wednesday.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit concluded that the term ‘sex’ in the regulations is ambiguous and deferred to what the court characterized as the ‘novel’ interpretation advanced in the guidance.”
The letter cites a Texas injunction against the 2015 and 2016 Obama-era administration letters, released by the departments of Education and Justice, respectively, authorizing broader rights for the nation’s growing transgender students.
“In addition, the departments believe that, in this context, there must be due